The adage that being mayor of New York City is the “second-toughest job in America” may never have been more true than now.

The city’s budget has taken a huge hit from COVID-19 shutdowns. Joblessness, demand for aid and a looming eviction crisis are exacerbating the economic inequality that existed before the virus arrived last year. The city has also seen a major spike in shootings.

THE CITY Helps You Navigate the 2021 Elections

Our guide is here to make your decisions easier, with details on candidates, the jobs they’re running for, how to use the new ranked-choice voting system and more.

And yet, dozens of New Yorkers have vied to become our next mayor this year. Whomever succeeds Bill de Blasio must cope with the pandemic’s aftermath (hopefully), as well the unprecedented economic and social disruption it has wrought. 

Initially, more than 40 contenders tossed their hats into mayoral race this year. As of late April, according to Board of Election records, the pack has been whittled down to just over a dozen candidates who’ve officially made it onto the ballot for the June 22 Democratic and Republican primaries.

A number of independent or third-party candidates are in the race, as well, and will petition to get on the general ballot between April and mid-May. We’ll be sure to update this guide with the most accurate list as the race continues.

Not sure who to vote for? We’ve also created a fun tool to help New Yorkers see which candidates might match best with their sensibilities.

What Does the Mayor Do?

As the city’s top executive, the mayor gets to set the agenda. For example: the mayor can choose to prioritize affordable housing development or make sure every school has a nurse — and drafts the city budget that serves as a blueprint for how we pay for those things.

The mayor also appoints the heads of every city agency and can approve or veto legislation passed by the City Council. The mayor’s office took over control of city schools in 2002, though is dependent on the state Legislature to retain that role.

Contrary to popular belief, the mayor has limited influence over the MTA. That’s the purview of the governor, whose relationship with the mayor can be key to the city’s success.

There are of course so many other things the mayor influences (and many other races up for grabs this year). For more information, this guide from the Campaign Finance Board is helpful. 

Who’s In?

Here’s an alphabetic list of who’s still in the race for City Hall in 2021, according to the latest tally from the city Board of Elections as well as fundraising records from the Campaign Finance Board. If you work with a campaign and spot an error below, please contact THE CITY will update this list as the race moves forward:

Eric Adams (D)

Adams, a Brooklyn native and former NYPD captain, once served as a state senator for Crown Heights and currently serves as Brooklyn Borough President.

Art Chang (D)

Chang, a technologist and finance executive, helped create NYC Votes as a member of the Campaign Finance Board.

Shaun Donovan (D)

Donovan, a Manhattan native, served as commissioner of the city’s housing department under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and later as HUD Secretary and budget director for President Barack Obama.

Vitaly A. Filipchenko (I)

Filipchenko, a native of Russia, is a small business owner and volunteer with the Auxiliary New York Police Department, according to his campaign website.

Raja Flores (I)

Flores is a thoracic surgeon and mesothelioma expert at Mt. Sinai Hospital and a member of East Harlem’s community board.

Aaron Foldenauer (D)

Foldenauer is a litigator and environmental advocate, his campaign website says.

Quanda Francis (I)

Francis, a Brooklyn native, once worked for the Small Business Administration and the New York Police Department and now owns a fintech firm, Sykes Capital Management, according to her LinkedIn profile, campaign website and this profile from Bklyner.

Kathryn Garcia (D)

Garcia, a Brooklyn native, managed operations at the Department of Environmental Protection under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and most recently served as Commissioner of the Department of Sanitation for Mayor Bill de Blasio as well as his pandemic food czar.

Christopher S. Krietchman (I)

Krietchman is a health entrepreneur and former bodybuilder who co-founded two social impact companies, STRVYN Inc. and Wellvyl, his campaign website says.

Fernando Mateo (R)

Mateo is a longtime advocate for taxi drivers and bodega owners, and a restaurant investor in Upper Manhattan and The Bronx. Mateo was tied to de Blasio’s 2013 fundraising scandal, though neither he nor the mayor faced any charges.

Raymond McGuire (D)

McGuire, a longtime finance executive, left his position as vice chairman of Citigroup to run for mayor.

Aaron B. Miles (I)

Miles, a lifelong Brooklyn resident, is a former fashion designer, street vendor and now a jobs specialist at the Human Resources Administration, his campaign website says.

Dianne Morales (D)

Morales, a Brooklyn native, is a longtime leader and founder of social services nonprofits, most recently leading Phipps Neighborhoods in The Bronx.

Bill Pepitone (C)

Pepitone, a Brooklyn native, is a retired New York Police Department officer, according to his campaign website. He will appear on the ballot on the Conservative Party line.

Paperboy Love Prince (D)

Prince is a rapper, self-described “Renaissance person” and supporter of universal basic income, according to this recent profile of them from Document Journal magazine.

Stacey Prussman (L)

Prussman, a native of Brooklyn, is a stand-up comedian, radio host and animal rights activist, according to her campaign website. She is running as a Libertarian.

Curtis Sliwa (R)

Sliwa is the founder of the Guardian Angels and a longtime radio host and political commentator.

Scott Stringer (D)

Stringer, a Manhattan native, served as Manhattan Borough President and state Assembly member before being elected to his current role, city comptroller.

Joycelyn Taylor (D)

Taylor, a Brooklyn native, worked in corporate administration, founded her own contracting company and started a nonprofit advocacy group, the NYC MWBE Alliance, for minority- and women-owned businesses.

Maya Wiley (D)

Wiley is an attorney, civil rights activist, professor and MSNBC contributor who served as counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio and as chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Isaac Wright Jr. (D)

Wright Jr. is a formerly incarcerated lawyer and entrepreneur whose wrongful conviction inspired the recent television series “For Life” on ABC, according to his campaign website.

Andrew Yang (D)

Yang, a technology entrepreneur, ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on a platform advocating for universal basic income.

Some well-known would-be candidates have already announced they will not be running, including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and former Staten Island U.S. Rep. Max Rose.

Other candidates have already started campaigns and dropped out, including former Veterans Services Commissioner Loree Sutton and Council member Carlos Menchaca.

Candidates previously listed in this guide — including reality star Barbara Kavovit, real estate agent Guiddalia Emilien and Wall Street veteran Sarah Tirschwell — did not meet the petition requirements set by the BOE and were removed from the ballot, records show.

The NYC Board of Elections has resources on how to register to vote here, and you can find important dates and deadlines here (state BOE) and here (city BOE).